Susan Michie

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Susan Michie

Susan Fiona Dorinthea Michie

(1955-06-19) 19 June 1955 (age 66)
Alma mater
  • (m. 1981; div. 1997)
  • Robert West
    (m. 2009)
Scientific career
FieldsExperimental psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology
InstitutionsUniversity College London

Susan Fiona Dorinthea Michie FBPsS FAcSS FMedSci FBA (born 19 June 1955)[1] is a British academic, clinical psychologist, and professor of health psychology, director of The Centre for Behaviour Change[2] and head of The Health Psychology Research Group,[3] all at University College London. She is also an advisor to the British Government via the SAGE advisory group[4][5] on matters concerning behavioural compliance with government regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early life[edit]

Born in St Pancras, London, Michie is the daughter of the biologist Dame Anne McLaren and computer scientist Donald Michie, and sister of the economist Jonathan Michie.[6][7]

Michie obtained a BA in experimental psychology from University College, Oxford in 1976, an MPhil in clinical psychology from the Institute of Psychiatry in 1978, and a DPhil in developmental psychology from University College, Oxford in 1982. She is a chartered clinical psychologist and a chartered health psychologist, and a fellow of the British Psychological Society.[8]


As a clinical psychologist she worked with adults and families on topics covering antenatal care, genetic counselling and occupational stress.[8] Her later career interests have been in designing and evaluating methods of behavioural change, especially in relation to wellbeing and health improvement.[8]

Michie worked as a clinical psychologist with children and families at the Royal Free Hospital, London. In 1989, she joined the Royal Free School of Medicine’s Health Psychology Unit as a senior research fellow in clinical health psychology. She developed a psychology service for staff, an organisational consultancy service for managers and taught a variety of professions. Her research focused on the areas of antenatal care and screening, and occupational stress in health care staff and students.[8][9][10]

In 1993, Michie moved to the Psychology and Genetics Research Group, King's College London where she conducted research into the process and outcome of genetic counselling, public and professional attitudes towards genetic testing, informed choice and decision making about prenatal screening and genetic testing, and the psychological impact of predictive genetic testing. She continued her clinical work, consultancy and research at the Royal Free Hospital’s Occupational Health and Safety Unit part-time.[11]

In 2002, Michie joined the Psychology Department of University College London (UCL), where she is Professor of Health Psychology. She is director of UCL’s Centre for Behaviour Change and of its Health Psychology Research Group.[8]

Her current research includes developing methodologies for designing and evaluating theory-based interventions to change behaviour, and advancing scientific knowledge about, and applications of, behaviour change interventions. She leads the Human Behaviour-Change Project funded by the Wellcome Trust.[12][13]

Michie has served as president of the European Health Psychology Society and chair of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Health Psychology.[8]


Michie was elected a Fellow of the British Psychological Society in 2001,[8] the Academy of Social Sciences in 2010,[8] the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2017,[8] the British Academy in 2021,[14] the European Health Psychology Society, and the US Society of Behavioral Medicine and Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.[8]

In 2019, Michie was named winner of the British Psychological Society Research Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her world-leading work creating a coherent language of behaviour change.[12]

Government advisor[edit]

In 2009, Michie became a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and convened its subgroup, the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Behaviour group.[15] In 2020, she became a participant in the COVID-19 SAGE's Scientific Pandemic Insights group on Behaviour (SPI-B).[16] She also sits on the Independent SAGE committee, chaired by Sir David King.

Michie frequently contributes to national news media during the COVID-19 pandemic as an expert in behaviour change,[17][18][19][20] notably in May 2020 when a government advisor left the city and thus broke the government's COVID-19 rules.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Michie was married from 1981 to 1997 to the trade union official Andrew Murray and has three children.[22] She married psychologist Robert West,[23] Emeritus Professor at University College London,[24] in 2009.

Michie is a member of the Communist Party of Britain[25][23] and was also member of its predecessor the Communist Party of Great Britain.[26] In March 2018, she spoke at a public meeting saying that communists should be "working full tilt" for the election of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.[27][28] She made a £14,000 donation to Labour under Corbyn's leadership.[29][30]


  1. ^ [Anon.] (2021). "Michie, Prof. Susan Fiona Dorinthea". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U250619. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "The Centre for Behaviour Change". 30 April 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "The Health Psychology Research Group". 19 February 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "SAGE Register of Participants" (PDF).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Jonathan Michie".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Susan Michie". 26 March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Susan, Michie; Marteau, Theresa M.; Kidd, Jane (1992). "An evaluation of an intervention to increase antenatal class attendance". Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 10 (3): 183–185. doi:10.1080/02646839208403950.
  10. ^ Michie, S.; Williams, S. (2003). "Reducing work-related psychological ill health and sickness absence: a systematic literature review". Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 60 (1): 3–9. doi:10.1136/oem.60.1.3. PMC 1740370. PMID 12499449.
  11. ^ UCL (24 September 2015). "Spotlight on Professor Susan Michie". UCL News. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Pioneer in behaviour change recognised | The Psychologist". Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  13. ^ "Grant Holders". Human Behaviour Change Project (HBCP). Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  14. ^ "The British Academy Election of Fellows 2021".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Membership SPI-B".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Independent Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B)". OGL3.
  17. ^ "BBC Radio 5 live - 5 Live News Specials, Coronavirus: Your Questions Answered 31/03/20". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  18. ^ "BBC World Service - The Evidence, Coronavirus Special, Coronavirus: Four behaviours that could be as 'powerful as a vaccine'". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus: We're not out of danger yet - Warning not to break lockdown in sunny weather". Sky News. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Government is confusing people with 'stay at home' message while others allowed to return to workplaces, adviser warns". The Independent. 25 April 2020. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Coronavirus: Cummings row 'undermines trust in government and more people will die' - scientist". Sky News. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Children of Andrew Murray and Susan Michie".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ a b "Government scientist who has advocated for more Covid controls is member of the Communist party". The Daily Telegraph. 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Robert West, Emeritus Professor, University College London". 23 January 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ Whipple, Tom; Ellery, Ben (25 May 2020). "Loyalty to Dominic Cummings will cost lives, says scientist". The Times.
  26. ^ "The Leninist: First conference makes decision to go monthly". The Weekly Worker. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  27. ^ Johnston, John (5 March 2018). "EXCL Communist Party members to work 'full tilt' to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister". Politics Home. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  28. ^ Baxter, Sarah (11 March 2018). "A red-hot civil war is raging for control of Jeremy Corbyn's No 10". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  29. ^ "The Londoner: Communist's £14k Labour donation". Evening Standard. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Will champagne socialists soon be all Labour has left?". Tatler. 12 March 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.

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